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Rasharkin Residents Association

Ballymaconnelly Parade Report 2005

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Local Residents in Rasharkin had genuine fears about the Ballymaconnelly Parade

passing through the village this year. In July a local pub – SÚ Ogs – was petrolbombed,

the latest in a series of sectarian attacks in North Antrim over the summer.

 

The Residents Association did not want the protest next to this business, and this is

why they applied to protest along Main Street away from the property. This was

outlined to the Parades Commission who then decided the protest was going to be

situated at this property anyway.

 

The residents fears were realised however when the business was again targeted the

night before the parade passed through the village. The attack was one of four on

properties in the Rasharkin area that night, each of which was sectarian. Residents

clearly saw this as an attempt to instil fear into residents in the village before the

controversial parade and it clearly worked as many of those who had indicated that

they were going to attend the protest changed their minds and moved out of the

village for the evening.

 

Before the parade the Residents Association put in a request for independent

observers to attend.

 

A heavy police presence fell over the village again this year, and water cannons were

stationed between Rasharkin and Kilrea. Approximately 37-38 bands marched

through the village. There were massive gaps in between bands marching and some

even stopped next to the protest to try and antagonise protestors. Loyalist stewards

were allowed to congregate and assemble directly across from the protestors were

they stood most of the night. We find this totally unacceptable and some people found

it intimidating in light of recent events.

 

All businesses along the route closed for the evening, including two that were

attacked by loyalists the night before.

 

During the parade the protestors heard a roar from where all the loyalist supporters

were gathered in the Churchill Crescent/Belmont Cross area. This was explained later

when Mediation NI observers told a local Councillor that

“loyalists were allowed by the PSNI to climb a lamp-post using a wooden ladder and

take down a tri-colour” – Cllr DaithÝ McKay

 

Mediation NI also said that when loyalists couldn’t light the flag they stopped a

motorcyclist to ask for some fuel to help light the tri-colour. The motorcyclist refused

and drove on, but the supporters eventually got the flag burned. The big concern that

residents would have with this would be that the Ballymaconnelly stewards clearly

had no control over the hundreds of loyalists they invite into the village. Apparently

the stewards were booed and heckled for trying to control the supporters. The

following morning there were pieces of the ladder still on the road. There was no

efforts by the PSNI to remove these from the road when they drove past them and as

yet we have not heard of any action being taken against those who were involved in

this public disorder. Burning flags in the middle of the street is a massive breach of

public order, and is a very provocative act. One resident who protested when he saw

the flag being taken down was threatened by loyalist supporters. After the parade had

finished he and his family left their home for the night in fear of the loyalists

following through on their threat.

 

A photographer told residents that after most of the bands had gone down through the

village for the first half of the parade one band was very far behind and the police

were not going to let them continue through. The Police then formed a line across the

road with dogs to prevent the band from passing but when the band kept on marching

forward the police broke up the line to let the band pass on through.

 

Loyalist paramilitary flags were on display in many of the bands who attended the

parade and local people said that they went home with the Sash ‘ringing in their

heads’ as most of the bands marching past the protestors played it when passing.

 

PARAMILITARY/ PROSCRIBED ORGANIZATION DISPLAYS:

Observers at the parade witnessed parade participants prominently displaying loyalist

paramilitary/proscribed organisation flags and banners.

 

The Parades Commission’s Determination stated, “Flags and other displays often

have a legitimate historical significance, but in no circumstances should such items

relating to a proscribed organisation be displayed.” Observers identified 11 bands

that openly violated this restriction, primarily through the display of UDA, UYM,

UFF, YCV and UVF flags. The bands in violation were:

 

Boveedy - Banner showed clinched red fist and white star of the UFF logo.

Dervock Young Defenders – This band carried the Ulster Independence Flag which

is associated with some elements of the UDA. The band also carried a UFF-style flag

with the clinched red fist and white star of that groups’ logo.

Randalstown Sons Of Ulster – This band carried a UVF flag and a YCV flag.

Silver Plains Moyarget – This band carried a UVF flag and a YCV flag. Had crests

on shoulder of uniform with emblem and colours of the YCV.

Causeway Protestant Boys – This band carried UDA style flags that incorporated the

colours, emblems, and mottoes of the UDA.

Ballymena Protestant Boys – Carried UDA flag that incorporated the colours,

emblem of the UDA. Reference to ‘____ Coy Ballymena’. Carried 2 UFF flags that

incorporated the colours and emblem of the UFF. They also shows the year ‘1973’

which was the founding year of the UFF. Ballymena Protestant Boys were founded in

1997. Reference to ‘____ Coy Ballymena’. Banner displayed the clinched red fist and

white star of the UFF crest

Castledawson Star & Crown - Carrier of Banner had t-shirt with UVF symbol on

breast pocket.

Dunaghy Flute Band – Carried Ulster Independence Flag which is associated with

some elements of the UDA. Carried UDA style flag.

Moneydig Young Conquerors – This band carried a UDA-style flag that

incorporated the colours, emblems and mottoes of the UDA. This band also carried a

UYM-style flag that incorporated the colours, emblems and motto (‘Terrae filius’ of

that organisation. Banner also showed the clinched red fist of the UFF

Freeman Memorial Band – Banner showed UVF badge and the name of (Geoffrey)

Freeman, a UVF member who blew himself up in the 1970s.The band also carried a

UVF flag and a YCV flag.

Pride Of The Bann – Banner had clinched red fist and white star of the UFF logo. It

also had the symbol and logo (Quis Separabit) of the UDA. This band carried UDA

style flags that incorporated the colours, emblems, and mottoes of the UDA.

 

PROVOCATIVE, SECTARIAN AND AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR:

 

The observers witnessed both parade participants and spectators engaging in provocative, sectarian,

and/or aggressive and intimidating behaviour directed at residents.

 

The Parades Commission Determination commanded that as the parade passed

through Rasharkin, “Behaviour should be respectful. There should be no excessively

loud drumming. Participants should refrain from conduct, words, music or behaviour

which could reasonably be perceived as intentionally sectarian, provocative,

threatening, abusive, insulting or lewd.” The observers witnessed numerous

violations of these requirements:

 

Residents clearly and reasonably considered the band’s displays of loyalist

paramilitary/proscribed organisation flags and banners set out above to be

sectarian, provocative, threatening, etc.

 

Members of (1) Dervock Young Defenders (2) Ballykeel (3) Castledawson (4)

Moneydig Young Conquerors (5) Omagh True Blues (6) Pride Of The Park

Armoy, (7) Pride Of The Maine and (8) Silver Plains Moyarget made hand

gestures, winked at and pointed at residents, and yelled obscenities at residents

(e.g. ‘No Pope Here’).

 

Sectarian provocative music, including ‘The Sash’, ‘Derry’s Walls’ and ‘The

Billy Boys’ were played over 20 times when bands passed the residents’

protest.

 

Nearly all the flute bands engaged in extremely loud drum playing. The drum

playing was most extreme when the bands passed SÚ Ogs bar, where the

protest was located.

 

Supporters of the parade were seen by observers taking out a wooden ladder

and climbing a lamp-post to remove an Irish tricolour. They then stopped a

motorcyclist and asked him for some fuel to burn the flag with. The

motorcyclist turned down this request and drove on. The supporters then

proceeded to burn the flag to the cheers of the loyalist crowd. The remains of

the ladder were still scattered across the street the following morning.

 

Pride Of The Park, Armoy carried a banner showing a cartoon character

(Tasmanian Devil) tearing apart an Irish tricolour with his teeth. Residents

considered this an intentionally sectarian and insulting display.

 

A Pride Of The Maine member walked behind the Pride Of The Orange &

Blue band to go past the protestors again. He was not approached by stewards

or the PSNI.

 

Movenis Sons Of William stopped next to the residents and played ‘The

Sash’. Pride Of The Maine band also stopped next to the residents when

playing ‘The Sash’.

 

Members of Maghera Sons of William stopped and played next to the mainly

nationalist estate Sunnyside and similarly Moneydig band stopped outside the

100% nationalist estate of Riverdale and played (whilst also carrying UDA

flags). Pride Of the Bann also did this when they were completing the first leg

of the parade.

 

A supporter who followed Pride Of The Maine band took photos of residents

with his mobile phone and made an offensive gesture (stuck up his middle

finger) to the residents.

 

Ballyquin was late to arrive and start marching and according to one report the

police formed a line across the road with police dogs as they were too late.

The band continued to march forward and the police line was broken up to let

the band continue through. This band directly disobeyed police orders which

residents found threatening.

 

The video from in front of the Presbyterian Church wall clearly shows a band

member urinating up against it without anybody apprehending him for what is

a clear breach of the law. The video also clearly shows band members going

down the back entry of Sunnyside Drive to urinate. This occurred even though

Public toilets were less than 100 metres away.

 

This year the Parades Commission published its decision in relation to the

Ballymaconnelly Parade that was held in Rasharkin on Friday 19th August. The

Parade Organisers had a responsibility to make sure that bands and supporters adhered

to these conditions. Outlined below are breaches of this ruling that occurred at this

year’s parade:

 

Point 6: ‘In no circumstances should any items relating to a proscribed organization

be displayed. The organiser should be aware of the sensitivities of these flags and

emblems in Rasharkin’ – The display of UDA/UVF/YCV and UYM flags is a direct

breach of this and the organiser is only too aware of the sensitivities surrounding these

emblems.

 

Point 8: ‘The Commission looks to both the parade organiser and the associated

protest organiser to ensure that both assemblies are entirely peaceful and lawful’

The supporters of the parade were not entirely peaceful and climbing up lampposts to

take down tricolours and burn them could have resulted in major public disorder.

Participants in the parade itself made numerous breaches of the determination and

therefore broke the law on countless occasions.

 

Point 10: ‘The Commission draws the attention of the organiser to the guidance for

parade participants contained in Appendices A and B of the Commission’s Code of

Conduct and of the need to ensure that this guidance is brought to the attention of all

parade participants, including flags and other displays.’

 

Under Appendix A, Section A – Behaviour – the bands involved and their supporters

did not behave with due regard for the rights, traditions and feeling of others in the

vicinity. A lot of the bands played The Sash, Derry’s Walls & loyalist paramilitary

songs in front of the protestors. This should have been noted by the Parades

Commission monitors on the ground. We have this recorded on camera and

independent monitors will also be able to back this up. There was also many, many

instances of excessive drumming, especially when passing the protestors, and they

obviously wanted to play as loud as possible in front of the protest. This is also a

totally unacceptable time of night for such noise in the village. It is the only nighttime

parade of the year in Rasharkin.

 

The supporters, and some of the bands did not refrain from using words or behaviour

which could reasonably be perceived as being intentionally sectarian, provocative,

threatening, abusive, insulting or leud. Members of a band from Omagh made

sectarian remarks, which were also recorded on camera, such as ‘No Pope here’ and

another sectarian reference. The stewards did not talk to any of the band members

after the second comment was made and we find this unacceptable. Stewards

assembled directly across from the protestors for the duration of the evening. We do

not feel that this was appropriate and many interpreted this as threatening behaviour.

Parade supporters did not obey the lawful directions of parade stewards when they

started burning tricolours and they even booed and heckled the stewards. If the Parade

Organisers cannot control their supporters then they should not be allowed into the

village in such numbers. One of the bands did not comply with police directions when

they marched down the first leg of the route even though the police said that no more

bands were to go through. Stewards, as far as we are aware, did not try and stop this

band from marching. The police line then broke up when the band approached. They

did not abide by the Conditions of the Code Of Conduct.

 

Some bands even stopped and played next to the protestors. This was a serious and

clear breach of this ruling.

 

Band members and supporters were recorded urinating against a Church wall at the

side of a public road. They were also seen urinating at the back of people’s houses in

Sunnyside Drive.

 

Under Appendix A, Section F – Bands & Music – it says that each band must clearly

display its name. Last year the bands Boveedy, Pride of the Bann and Ballyquin – did

not do this as their names were not clearly displayed on the bands’ big drum.

The bands did not act in accordance with the conditions set out in Appendix B of the

Code. Under Appendix B, Section C: ‘Where the Majority Population of the Vicinity

are of a Different Tradition, and in Interface areas’ it says that:

 

(1) Behaviour should be respectful – This was most certainly not the case as the

evidence shows, particularly in relation to the burning of tricolours and the

threats directed against a resident at the top of the village.

 

(2) There should be no excessively loud drumming – Most of the bands ‘gave their

all’ when marching past the protestors. Local people were not happy at such

excessive drumming taking place at this time of night.

 

(3) Participants should refrain from conduct, words, music or behaviour which

would reasonably be perceived as intentionally sectarian, provocative,

threatening, abusive, insulting or lewd – Bands played ‘the Sash’, the Billy

Boys, Derry’s Walls and loyalist paramilitary songs when going past the

protestors. At least one of the bands stopped next to the protest. Some band

members made abusive gestures and comments (e.g. ‘No Pope here’). Pride Of

The Maine supporters took photos of the protesters when they marched past. A

local MLA said to police officers about this but nothing was done about it.

 

(4) Marching should be dignified – Some of the band members, particularly the

big drum players ‘danced’ triumphantly when going past the protestors.

Under Appendix A, Section G – Flags – it says that ‘in no circumstances should such

items relating to a proscribed organisation be displayed’ – Bands at the parade were

photographed with UDA and UYM flags, as well as UVF and YCV flags. There are

also references to these groups throughout most of the bands’ websites which is

provided in the 2004 Ballymaconnelly Parade Report by the Rasharkin Residents

Association. Neither Police Officers nor stewards took action against bands when they

marched past with these flags.

 

Under Appendix A, Section H – Stewards – it says that stewards must ‘be prepared

to identify to the police any persons in the parade who may be committing any offence

against criminal law’. The Committee would like to know what information, if any,

the stewards provided regarding the taking down and burning of tricolours in the

middle of the street to the police.

 

Under Appendix A, Section K – Abiding by conditions – it says that the organiser is

responsible for the behaviour of all participants and for ensuring compliance with the

Code of Conduct. Given that the organiser is responsible for the behaviour of all

participants then the organiser is therefore legally accountable for the burning of flags

in the middle of the road and also all the breaches of the determination that have been

outlined.

 

ORDER OF BANDS PARADING (OUTWARD GOING)

(1) Dunloy Accordion Band

(2) Eden Accordion Band

(3) Killycoogan Accordion Band

(4) Vow Accordion Band

GAP – X MINUTES

(5) Dunaghy Accordion Band – Had ‘No Surrender’ slogan on bass drum

(6) Rasharkin Pipe Band

GAP – X MINUTES

(7) Clough True Blues – Excessive Drumming

(8) Tullaghans Sons Of Liberty - Played ‘The Sash’ when passing residents

(9) Mosside Rising Sons Of Ulster

(10) Boveedy Flute Band - Played ‘Derry’s Walls when passing residents

- Played ‘The Rifles’

- No name on Bass Drum

- Banner showed clinched red fist and white star of the UFF logo.

(11) Pride Of The Park (Armoy) - Played ‘Derry’s Walls when passing residents

- Carried bannerette of loyalist cartoon character tearing an

Irish tri-colour apart with his teeth.

- Excessive drumming

GAP – 2 MINUTES

(12) Dervock Young Defenders - Played ‘Derry’s Walls’ & ‘The Sash’ when passing

residents

- Fluter turned to residents and pointed out the crest on his

arm.

- This band carried the Ulster Independence Flag which is

associated with some elements of the UDA.

- The band also carried a UFF-style flag with the clinched

red fist and white star of that groups’ logo.

(13) Cloughmills Crown Defenders - Excessive drumming

(14) Pride Of The Maine - Excessive drumming

- Supporter followed band and took photo of residents with

mobile phone before making an offensive gesture (giving

the middle finger). No action taken by stewards or PSNI.

(15) Bushside Flute Band - Excessive drumming

GAP – 3 MINUTES

(16) Maghera Sons Of William - Excessive drumming

GAP – 2 MINUTES

(17) Randalstown Sons Of Ulster - Played ‘The Sash’

- Excessive drumming

- Carried UVF and YCV flags

(18) Silver Plains (Moyarget) - Had military bannerette dedicated to Sgt. Robert Quigg

- Carried UVF and YCV flags

- Had crests on shoulder of uniform with emblem and

colours of the YCV.

(19) Causeway Protestant Boys - This band carried UDA style flags that incorporated the

colours, emblems, and mottoes of the UDA.

- Marshall clapped as band went past protestors

(20) Movenis Sons Of William (Garvagh) – Excessive drumming

(21) Ballykeel - Member carrying Union Jack ‘winked’ at supporters twice.

- Another member ‘blew a kiss’ at supporters (Line in front of bass drum)

- Played ‘The Sash’ when passing residents

- Played ‘Derry’s Walls’ when passing residents

GAP – 2 MINUTES

(22) Ballymena Protestant Boys - Excessive Drumming

- Carried UDA flag that incorporated the colours, emblem

of the UDA. Reference to ‘____ Coy Ballymena’

- Carried 2 UFF flags that incorporated the colours and

emblem of the UFF. It also shows the year ‘1973’ which

was the founding year of the UFF. Ballymena Protestant

Boys were founded in 1997. Reference to ‘____ Coy

Ballymena’

- Banner displayed the clinched red fist and white star of

the UFF crest

(23) Castledawson Star & Crown – Fluter (Last line) made comment to residents.

- Bass drummer ‘jumping about’ on the road when passing residents.

- Carried military flag referring to 36th Ulster Divison.

- Carrier of Banner had t-shirt with UVF symbol on breast pocket.

(24) Drumaheaglas Young Defenders - Excessive drumming

(25) Dunaghy Flute Band – Carried Ulster Independence Flag which is associated with

some elements of the UDA.

- Carried UDA style flag.

(26) Stranocum – Excessive drumming

(27) Moneydig Young Conquerors - Carried a UDA-style flag that incorporated the

colours, emblems and mottoes of the UDA. This band

also carried a UYM-style flag that incorporated the

colours, emblems and motto (‘Terrae filius’) of that

organisation.

- Banner also showed the clinched red fist of the UFF

- One fluter smiled and winked at residents

- Another fluter made hand gestures toward

residents.

(28) Freeman Memorial Flute Band - Carried UVF and YCV flags.

- No name displayed on bass drum. This was pointed out

to Police Officer 5086 who ignored the request to

anything about it.

- Banner showed UVF badge and the name of

(Geoffrey) Freeman, a UVF member who blew

himself up in the 1970s.

(29) Ballycraigy - Played ‘The Sash’ when passing residents

- Played ‘Derry’s Walls’ when passing residents

(30) Montober (Cookstown) – Excessive drumming

(31) Pride Of The Bann – Banner had clinched red fist and white star of the UFF logo. It

also had the symbol and logo (Quis Separabit) of the UDA.

- This band carried UDA style flags that incorporated the colours,

emblems, and mottoes of the UDA.

(32) Pride Of The Orange & Blue (Newbuildings) - Excessive drumming

- Played ‘Derry’s Walls’ when passing

residents.

- Played ‘The Sash’ when passing

residents.

- Pride Of The Maine member walked

behind band. Was not approached by

stewards or PSNI.

(33) Ballynarrig (Limavady) - Excessive drumming

GAP – 2 MINUTES

(34) Omagh True Blues - Played ‘Derry’s Walls’ when passing residents.

- Played ‘The Sash’ when passing residents.

- Member turned, stared & smiled at residents

- Member made hand gestures and turned toward protestors

(35) Ballymaconnelly Sons Of Conquerors – Excessive drumming

GAP – 4 MINUTES+

(36) Ballyquin - Police formed a line with dogs across the road to prevent this band

from passing as Ballymaconnelly were supposed to be the last band

down. (On the video)You can hear police dogs barking and see

policemen moving up the street. This is followed by supporters up the

street cheering when the band is let through. This band was apparently

late. The police bowed down easily and let the band pass anyway.

- Played ‘The Billy Boys’.

- Name on Bass drum was covered, it read ‘_______ Flute Band,

Londonderry’.

 

ORDER OF BANDS PARADING (RETURN LEG)

(1) Dunloy Accordion Band

(2) Eden Accordion Band

(3) Killycoogan Accordion Band

(4) Vow Accordion Band

(5) Dunaghy Accordion Band

(6) Clough True Blues - Played ‘The Sash’ when passing residents

(7) Tullaghans Sons Of Liberty – Excessive drumming

(8) Randalstown Sons Of Ulster – Excessive drumming

(9) Boveedy Flute Band - Excessive drumming

(10) Pride Of The Park (Armoy) – Bass drummer pointed, smiled and made signals to

residents.

(11) Dervock Young Defenders

(12) Cloughmills

(13) Pride Of The Maine - Played ‘The Sash’ when passing residents

- Extremely excessive drumming

- Supporters took photos of residents with mobile phones. This was

done in front of stewards and policemen who took no action.

- The band stopped next to the residents whilst playing

- Fluter made gestures toward the residents.

(14) Bushside – Excessive drumming

(15) Maghera Sons Of William – Excessive drumming

(16) Silver Plains (Moyarget) – Fluter (Second last line) turned and stared at protestors

(17) Causeway Protestant Boys – Excessive drumming

(18) Movenis Sons Of William (Garvagh) - Played ‘The Sash’ when passing residents

- The band stopped next to the residents whilst

playing

- Excessive drumming.

(19) Ballykeel – Orange Flag carrier turned, stared and made comments at residents

(20) Ballymena Protestant Boys

(21) Castledawson Star & Crown

(22) Drumaheaglas – Excessive drumming

(23) Dunaghy Flute Band – Excessive drumming

(24) Stranocum - Played ‘The Sash’ when passing residents

- Excessive drumming

(25) Moneydig Young Conquerors – Excessive drumming

(26) Freeman Memorial Flute Band – Excessive drumming

(27) Ballycraigy – Excessive drumming

(28) Montober (Cookstown) – Excessive drumming

(29) Pride Of The Bann

(30) Pride Of The Orange & Blue - Played ‘The Billy Boys’ when passing residents

- Excessive drumming

(31) Ballynarrig (Limavady)

(32) Omagh True Blues - Band member shouted ‘No Pope’

- Also shouted in reference to the Champions League (‘Champions

League, You’re having a laugh’), obviously in connection with

Glasgow Celtic’s exit from that competition.

- A band member then roared.

(33) Ballyquin - Played ‘The Sash’ when passing residents

- Excessive drumming

(34) Ballymaconnelly Sons Of Conquerors – Excessive drumming

 

ORDER OF BANDS PARADING PAST SUNNYSIDE DRIVE

(BASED ON VIDEO EVIDENCE)

N.B. Not all of the parade past this point was recorded

(1) Band in Purple Uniform

Bandsman urinates against Church wall unapprehended

(2) Pride Of The Park (Armoy)

(3) Maghera Sons Of William – Excessive Drumming

(4) Crown Defenders (Cloughmills)

(5) Sons Of Ulster (Randalstown)

(6) Moneydig - Stopped next to Riverside (100% Nationalist estate)

- Excessive Drumming

- Carried UDA flags

Band members go down the back of Sunnyside Drive to ‘relieve

themselves’

(7) Bushside Independent Band

(8) Maghera Sons Of William – Stopped and played in front of nationalist houses

at Sunnyside

- Excessive drumming (at approximately 9.30 – 10.0pm)

(9) Silver Plains – Excessive Drumming

(10) Ballykeel – Stopped and played outside Sunnyside Drive

(11) Harryville

(12) Castledawson – Excessive drumming

(13) Drumaheaglas – Excessive drumming

(14) Dunaghy – Excessive drumming

(15) Stranocum – Excessive drumming

(16) Moneydig – Excessive drumming

(17) Ballycraigy

(18) Montober (Cookstown)

(19) Pride Of The Bann (Coleraine) – Stopped whilst playing

- UDA flags on display

- Excessive drumming

(20) Pride Of The Orange & Blue

(21) Ballynarrig

(22) Omagh

(23) Ballyquin – Name on drum covered up

(24) Ballymaconnelly

 

Press Release following the Ballymaconnelly Parade 2005:

The Rasharkin Residents Association has asked that dialogue be opened between

Ballymaconnelly Sons Of Conquerors and local residents in the wake of another

controversial parade through the village.

A spokesperson for the group said:

“Last Friday night’s parade through the village came at a very bad time given the

recent attacks on local residents and businesses in the past month. Local people have

outlined their concerns to us regarding this parade, namely the burning of flags,

sectarian comments made toward residents, the use of paramilitary flags, the closing

down of local businesses and the timing and size of the parade.

“We would like to commend all those who tried to maintain a peaceful evening, and

we will be taking up any breaches of the peace and breaking of the law with the

relative statutory bodies.

“We would also like to reiterate the need for dialogue to be opened between residents

of the village and the parade organisers. There is another year until the next nighttime

parade through the village and this is plenty of time to enter into dialogue and

reach an amicable and peaceful solution to this helping to reduce the level of tension

in the village and to have residents’ concerns addressed.”